FRANKLIN, Mass., Oct. 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In spring 2023, Interactions, a leader in conversational AI, debuted a nationwide survey gauging 1,000 consumers’ sentiment toward customer support. This inaugural “Would You Rather” Index humorously shared what consumers would prefer doing instead of engaging with customer service, and revealed their deep dissatisfaction with customer experience (CX). Today, the company released part two of the Would You Rather Index, this time surveying 500 U.S. business leaders to understand how cognizant they are of their consumers’ frustrations.

Surprisingly, the results revealed that business leaders in many cases possess a dimmer view of customer support than their own consumers. But just as consumers believe the path to improvement is through personalized experiences that blend digital and human engagement, so too do the leaders.

Business leaders know customer service is important—96% agree excellent experiences boost brand loyalty. But they also know CX continues to be a problem for consumers. In fact, 43% of leaders believe their customers would rather get a cavity filled than engage with customer support, and 41% believe their customers would rather plunge a toilet.

Compare these results to those from consumers, who were asked the same questions in spring 2023: 38% reported they would rather get a cavity filled than contact customer service while 37% said they would rather plunge a toilet.

As we approach the 2023 holiday season—in which order volumes will increase significantly and travel is expected to spike once again—these new results become even more concerning:

  • 94% of business leaders say customers expect better customer service than they currently receive.
  • 58% cite long hold times as the primary reason for their customers’ frustration
  • 53% note multiple call transfers are a major pain point
  • 46% point to their customers being frustrated for repeating themselves to automated systems that do not understand them.

Businesses and consumers agree: merely throwing automation at the problem is not the answer, especially if that automation isn’t capable of actually solving customers’ issues. Customers in Interactions’ first survey emphasized that dealing with ineffective CX technology drives them crazy. Instead, following a “human-in-the-loop” approach is a more sustainable strategy for businesses. When humans and automation work together, hold times and “robot-speak” decrease, and customers emerge from each conversation feeling satisfied. This model, leveraged by Interactions, is poised to help mend the gap between businesses and consumers and improve CX offerings across the board.

“Delivering a top-notch customer experience is probably the closest way to guarantee your business is successful,” said Peter Mullen, Chief Marketing Officer of Interactions. “Businesses need to commit to delivering the kind of experience that a modern consumer expects. It needs to be fast and it needs to be personalized. Most importantly, it must solve issues.”

The Gartner Group reports that more than 2,000 companies offer some form of conversational AI or automated attendants, but many are one-size-fits-all solutions, and not tailored to the individual needs of each business and their customer base. Many current AI tools force the customer to adapt to them, have limited capabilities, or actually increase the customer’s frustration and dissatisfaction.

“At Interactions, we talk with business leaders often about their goals for customer service. Nearly all are in agreement that an intentional combination of AI and what we call a ‘human in the loop’ provides the highest quality experience for consumers,” said Mullen. “AI plus human solves issues while providing that personalized and empathic touch that customers crave.”

Interactions’ technology combines the best of AI and human support to deliver the digital “front door” experience of customer service on a level that meets, and often exceeds, consumer expectations. For more on why and how 90% of business decision-makers believe technology can help them provide better customer service, read the full report here.